In the area of flood defences and flood risk management, research programmes are coordinated with parties such as the Flood Protection Programme, Rijkswaterstaat as the operational body for the Directorate-General for Water and Soil (DGWB), and the Dike Design Advisory Team (ADO).
In the world of flood defences and dike upgrades, three trends have become increasingly apparent in recent years.
- First of all, there is a pressure on space. Dikes and dike upgrades are increasingly an integral challenge involving multiple dimensions. Dikes serve several functions in addition to safety. The creation of high-quality space, sustainability and future resilience, but also maintenance, time and funding, continue to play a role.
- Partly because of the pressure on space, a second trend is pressure on support for the measures needed. In the future, given the potentially major changes, the present national methodologies and approaches will have to be viewed in a new light. Innovative approaches that combine interests are an important challenge.
- The third trend is the rise in tension between climate adaptation, the need for a large-scale upgrade programme to safeguard flood risk management in the future as well, and the efficient use of resources. It is a fact that objectives in terms of time and budget require the use of more innovative techniques, the deployment of new knowledge and new ways of thinking to make the most effective use of limited resources. The challenge here is to work on the basis of content and knowledge to justify why flood risk management has to be safeguarded.
Gradually, the focus is shifting from the challenge of ‘having the system in order by 2050’ to more abstract goals such as making the system of flood defences and rivers flexible and resilient, and linking up with spatial developments and quality, ultimately with the goal of an integrated and adaptive system. As a knowledge institute, Deltares is at the heart of this complex of interests and trends in society and it responds with its knowledge development.